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OBJECTIVES: To determine the association of dental anxiety and mental health among undergraduate students of health-care profession with delays in seeking dental treatment.
METHODS: This cross-sectional study was performed on 400 undergraduate students attending Ziauddin College of Dentistry, Karachi, Pakistan. The sample was selected through non-probability convenience sampling from age group between 18-24 years old. A validated structured questionnaire was used to measure dental anxiety through modified dental anxiety scale, anxiety induced consumption patterns and dental treatment avoidance. Data was analyzed through SPSS version-22.
RESULTS: Out of 400 students, (296 (74%) were females and 104 (26%) were males; 223 (55.8%) were ≤20 years old. About 52.2% (n=209) consumed fizzy drinks and 49.5% (n=198) used to brush their teeth once daily. Thirty-five percent (n=139) never visited the dentist for check-up and 38.2% (n=153) reported low dental fear. High, moderate & low level of anxiety was observed in 22 (14.1%), 86 (55.1%) & 48 (30.8%) students with deferral in dental treatment as compared to 15 (6.2%), 124 (50.8%) 105 (43.0%) students with no deferral in dental treatment respectively (p<0.05). Majority of females (64.7%) as compared to males (35.3%) had delayed treatment due to dental phobia (p<0.01). Moderate & mild depression was observed in six (3.9%) & 25 (16%) students with deferral in dental treatment as compared to 15 (6.2%) & 34 (13.9%) students with no deferral in dental treatment respectively.
CONCLUSION: A significant association was noted between dental anxiety and negative dental-health seeking behaviors, while stress had no significant association with deferral.
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